NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Preview

5/31/2013
Fast Facts:
  • Second-row bench seat newly standard
  • Blu-Ray DVD player newly available with higher-resolution screens
  • HDMI input added to DVD screens for video game compatibility
  • Two rear-seat USB ports added
  • Trailer Sway Damping newly standard
  • 17-inch wheels standard on base model late in year
  • American Value Package/SE model has less equipment and costs less

Introduction
The Dodge Grand Caravan is a descendent of the first minivan from 1984. It is best known for Dodge's Stow 'n Go rear seats that fold into the floor. The Grand Caravan shares its design with the Chrysler Town & Country, but it is priced lower and has less standard equipment.

The Dodge Grand Caravan competes against the aforementioned Town & Country, as well as the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest, and Toyota Sienna.

Exterior Features
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan has a pair of power-sliding side doors and a rear liftgate. Standard exterior features include a rear wiper/washer, automatic-off headlights, rear privacy glass, fog lights, roof rack, and P225/65R17 tires on steel wheels with wheel covers. Alloy wheels are standard on all but the base model. A sunroof, fog lights, and a power rear liftgate are also offered. The R/T trim level is distinctive with its monochromatic exterior trim and satin carbon aluminum wheels.

Interior Features
The Dodge Grand Caravan seats 7 and is available with Dodge's Stow 'n' Go seating system. With Stow 'n' Go, the second-row bucket seats fold into bins beneath the floor, and the third-row seats flip over into a well at the back of the vehicle. The base model has the second-row bins but it comes with a bench seat that won't fold into the floor. With either configuration, the second-row bins and rear well can be used as storage.

The Grand Caravan has 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 83.3 cubic feet behind the second row with the third row folded, and a total of 143.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.

Other standard interior features include cloth upholstery, dual-zone manual climate control, interior air filter, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, heated power mirrors, power front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo with 4 speakers, auxiliary input jack, outside-temperature display, and conversation mirror.

Optional Features
To the base SE model, the Grand Caravan SXT adds rear air conditioning with rear controls, center console, Stow 'n Go seating system, power rear windows and rear-quarter windows, two extra speakers, rear privacy glass, and alloy wheels.

The Grand Caravan Crew gets power-adjustable pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, power-sliding rear doors, USB port, satellite radio, universal garage door opener, illuminated visor mirrors, 115-volt power outlet, floor mats, and fog lights.

Dodge calls the R/T the "man van." It comes with leather upholstery, power front passenger seat, rearview camera, 506-watt sound system, 30-gigabyte music hard drive, and a sport-tuned suspension; it also omits the roof rack.

A Driver's Convenience group adds heated front seats and steering wheel, an additional USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and second- and third-row sunshades. The Crew Value package gets a rearview camera, the music hard drive, a portable trouble light, and a bright roof rack. Three rear DVD entertainment systems are offered. The base system carries over from last year and has a single second-row 9-inch screen. A single-screen Blu-Ray version is also offered, as is a dual Blu-Ray version with screens in the second and third rows. All of these systems have a 115-volt outlet, and the Blu-Ray versions have the new high-resolution screen(s), two USB charging ports, and an HDMI input.

A Safety Sphere package features blind-spot alert, rear cross-path detection, rear-obstacle detection, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and automatic headlights. A Security Group adds remote engine starting, a power liftgate, and an alarm. The Trailer Tow Group gets a Class II trailer hitch receiver, load-leveling suspension, and a trailer wiring harness.

Many of the features from the various trim levels and packages are available separately, and Dodge also offers a choice of two navigation systems.

Under the Hood
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan offers one powertrain, a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that produces 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is flex-fuel capable, so it can run on regular gasoline or E85 ethanol, and the transmission features Dodge's AutoStick manual shift capability.

Fuel Economy
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan are 17/25/20 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Safety
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan comes with the usual safety features, plus a driver's knee air bag, brake assist, active front head restraints, and trailer sway damping. Also offered are rear park assist, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera.

In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan received 5 stars (out of 5) in the side-impact crash test, and 4 stars in the frontal and rollover tests, giving it a 4-star overall rating. In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the van received the highest rating of "Good" in the front overlap, side-impact, roof strength, and rear crash protection tests, making it an Institute "Top Safety Pick." It has not been subjected to the new small overlap front test, so it cannot be named a "Top Safety Pick Plus."

Technology
The Dodge Grand Caravan is offered with four audio/entertainment systems. The base system, Media Center 130, has a CD player and an auxiliary input jack. Next up is Media Center 430. It can play CDs, DVDs, and MP3 files, and it adds a 6.5-inch touch screen, high-definition radio, 30-gigabyte hard drive that can hold about 6700 music files, and Gracenote music tagging. Media Center 430N adds a Garmin navigation system and it can hold about 4250 songs because the navigation system takes up part of the hard drive. The top audio system is Media Center 730N, which adds a non-branded navigation system with voice control, iPod control, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio, and one free year of SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXMTraffic.

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